Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, December 14, 2017

IGF - NEW Opening Series 4/5/2017

PAS: NEW is a new shootstyle fed offshoot of IGF, and at this point we will review every new shootstyle fed. Looking forward to see how this compares to AMBITION as this has a bunch of actual MMA fighters along with masters like Fujiwara and Otsuka

Shinya Aoki v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

ER: So Fujiwara is in his late 60s, and I pray I have this mobility in 30 years. This is a match made of classic and telling Fujiwara faces. We start and he's the smug overconfident vet, taking Aoki down to the mat and tying him up in some cool ways (especially loved him picking Aoki's ankle and pulling it closer to his face while also wrenching a headlock). Before long Aoki is meeting him in a stalemate and as the tide turns a bit, we get that wonderful Fujiwara smile, recognizing that maybe he's fighting from underneath, but grinning at the challenge, almost welcoming Aoki's attacks. But by the 10 minute mark when their legs are impossibly tangled while they're fighting over wrists, the ref has to separate them and Fujiwara rolls to the floor with almost fear in his eyes. He looked like a man underwater and he needed to calibrate and try something else. So he suckers Aoki into a knucklelock that allows him to land a thrust headbutt. He wasn't making any avenues on the mat so of course the man goes to the head. Later on he lands another using the same trick. But Aoki is lanky and knows how to befuddle Fujiwara by tangling him up in limbs, and as we hit the 15 minute mark we can see a bit of desperation creeping onto Fujiwara's face as Aoki is patiently waiting for an armbar, perfectly content to play the waiting game as Fujiwara starts reaching and soon scrambling for ropes. And as soon as Fujiwara lets his guard down Aoki pounces and maneuvers into a side triangle. Killer lo fi stuff here.

PAS:  I assumed that the days of Fujiwara classics had passed, I have been working on the C+A Fujiwara project since 2009, I have found a couple of EPIC's since then, but they have all been tags and trios matches which included great performances from other wrestlers as well. Fujiwara is 67 years old, how is it possible for him to be able to work a 15 minutes singles match this good? Aoki isn't a guy who has done much pro-wrestling before, although he is one of the greatest MMA grapplers ever, he fits in to shootstyle great, he is so skilled and fast. I love how Fujiwara was working this as a guy a little outclassed on the mat, it is a foreign role for him, but Aoki is so slick that Fujiwara keeps finding himself in a compromised position. He has to resort to cheapshot headbutts to get an advantage (and man what a cheapshot headbutt it was, one of his best), I also loved how Fujiwara used wrestling grappling in a shoot context, at one point he uses a headlock to drive Aoki's knee to his temple, another time he does almost a drop toe hold to get back position, credit to the skill of both guys that it looked natural.

Katsumi Oribe v. Feng Chang Jian

PAS: Jian I would assume is a rookie from China, and this was kind of a lame rookie match. We had a long forearm exchange, which is a bummer if that is thing in rookie matches. We get some kicks, and Jian kind of blew a bodyslam. Finish was a boston crab. I didn't see much in either guy, but who knows what will happen later.

Alexander Otsuka v. Xuan Lin Dong

ER: Otsuka is looking beefy as hell now. Have we ever seen him and Negro Navarro in the same place at once? I'd never seen Lin before but I enjoyed him (he should have worn black gloves to complete the look though), came off like kind of a meathead and I dug how Otsuka handled him. There's a lot of standing grappling and Otsuka goes for his big German early, finds Lin grounding him too well, so just sidesteps and throws him backwards to the mat. Eventually he gets tired of grappling and just cracks him with a slap, and I loved how Lin stopped and staggered around before following up with an admirable forearm. But Otsuka slaps him again, and then slaps him to cut off an elbow, and THEN we get our big German. Otsuka smugly saunters over and picks him up for a big delay vertical suplex, the result academic.

PAS: Yeah Otsuka has been hitting the buffet, but he still looked awesome, I didn't think much of Dong (Eric loves Dong however, can't get enough Dong), for an MMA dude he really should hit harder, but all of the standing switch grappling looked good. Those pair of finishing suplexes are a pair of Alexander Otsuka finishing suplexes with all that that entails.

Masakatsu Funaki v. Mitsuyoshi Nakai

ER: This didn't do much for me, as Nakai looked like he didn't want to be there and Funaki looked like he was doing things at 3/4 until it was time to finish. They spend a lot of time with Funaki working a rear naked on Nakai, and there's plenty of times he has openings to do something, but it looked more like he was setting potential traps to see if Nakai could get out of them, and then just moving on when he had the satisfaction that Nakai couldn't. He easily maneuvers into an armbar, Nakai gets ropes, then Funaki decides things are just over and hits a huge high kick, then another one to the forehead, then a punt that he pulls back on. I did like him suckering Nakai into slapping him, allowing him to hit an awesome rolling kappo kick. He ends it with some kind of brutal capture piledriver. Neither guy seemed that interested in this match.

PAS: First part of this was kind of dull although it picked up a fair amount at the end. Nakai lands a nasty teeth cleaning knee lift and it wakes Funaki up and unloads on Nakai. He throws a big kick right to Nakai's temple and a punt to the chest, he finishes him off with a arm capture piledriver. If the whole match was as good as the last two minutes it would have been awesome, but the dull stuff at the beginning drags it down.

Minoru Tanaka v. Minowaman

PAS: Minoru Tanaka was never my favorite BattlArts guy, he was a little juniorish, more likely to do a flip then a punch to the mouth. He is reall skilled, and there were a lot of cool moments in this match. Minowaman is a MMA guy who doesn't fully translate his MMA charisma over to wrestling, but again he he has a ton of skill. I really liked some of the leglock work here, Minowaman has a cool reversal of a scorpion into a leg lock. This goes to a draw, and I feel like with a better finish and maybe one or two more special highlights this would have made a list, but it was still pretty enjoyable.

Josh Barnett v. Shinichi Suzukawa

PAS: I really enjoy watching Josh Barnett wrestle. He doesn't do anything flashy, but every forearm lands with a thud and he has these great slow powerful looking suplexes where he just yanks a guy up like a sack of flour. Suzukawa is a big guy with Yakuza looking tattoos who comes out really aggressive powering Barnett to the corner and hits him with some clubs. Suzukawa works a head and shoulder choke a bunch, and Barnett isn't afraid to punch him in his sake soaked kidneys to go for the break. Barnett ends up escaping and tossing him with a nice side suplex. Just a big boy shootstyle scrap and I dug it a bunch.

ER: 40 year old MMA fighter vs. disgraced sumo wrestler is about as NEW Gen  WAR as you can get, and this played like a WAR match via RINGS fight. This was filled with hard knees to the ribs, forearms to the back of the head, and these nasty as hell hardway suplexes where neither guy jumped; you just had these low angle brutal suplexes that looked like science class rockets tipped over and shot right into the ground. There are no free rides in this one, every single ankle lock and kneebar had a twist and some squirm, the head and arm chokes looked sunk, and those knees just kept getting buried into Barnett's body. Suzukawa has a great boss charisma and Barnett looks to be in better shape than during most of his MMA career. Neither guy gives the other one space, Suzukawa presses his knees into Barnett's throat in the corner and against the ropes, both competitively sandbag, and that was all kinds of awesome. Go watch this.

ER: We would have had this posted 8 months ago, but Phil needed to construct *just* the right Dong joke. And after 8 months of workshopping it, I think it's safe to say...we got it! We are adding the Fujiwara and Barnett matches to our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List, deservedly so.

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Anonymous Lazlo said...

Have you guys reviewed any Hard Hit? I'd heartily recommend the October 2016 (I think?) show - the one with the Hikaru Sato vs Hideki Suzuki match. I think you might dig it.

9:02 PM  

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